D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The sign on the front door only stated that 'the doctor is not in today.' A second sign on the door gave patients the schedule of another free clinic in Biloxi. But there were no signs to indicate that the D'Iberville Free Clinic is no longer in operation.
The news came as a surprise to many long-time patients, like Cathie Lanier of Biloxi.
"I come here at least once a month. I drop off my prescriptions. They refill them. I don't know what I would do without Bev and Clive. They were the heart of soul of many people in Biloxi and on the Gulf Coast," said Lanier.
Beverly Squibb and her husband opened the clinic just weeks after Katrina. With help from volunteer doctors and staff, they have offered free medical care and medication to thousands of people in need.
Over the last five years, the clinic had struggled to stay open. First, it dealt with drops in donations and a shortage of volunteer doctors. Then, it was the frustrating search for a permanent home. After moving from one location to another, the clinic opened at its new facility on Big Ridge Road back in March.
Beverly Squibb confirmed to WLOX on Thursday that the clinic closed its doors on Monday. She told us quote: "Closing the clinic was not our choice. There were circumstances beyond our control."
Squibb said she couldn't comment any further based on the advice of her attorney. For now, the doors of the clinic remain locked, and its fate is still up in the air. Squibb said she doesn't know if the clinic will ever reopen, but she said such a facility is still very much needed in the community.
"I don't know what we're going to do," said Lanier. "That is heartbreaking for a lot of people, because people here on the Gulf Coast, they don't have insurance. They don't have a way to pay for medical."
WLOX spoke with the attorney for the city of D'Iberville. "Dub" Hornsby told us he had no idea that the clinic had closed. According to Hornsby, the only problem the city had with the clinic was that it was two months behind on its water and power bills. He said both sides will meet on Monday to discuss the clinic's lease with the city.
WLOX also tried to contact the attorney for the clinic, Rusty Gill, but he did not returned our phone calls.